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OCVarsity's Steve Fryer takes a look at the O.C. boys basketball scene at the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason.

Boys basketball recap: Streaks and surprises

OCVarsity takes a look at the regular-season highlights and top performances.

OCVARSITY.COM

It was a rather routine regular season for the boys basketball program at Mater Dei. The Monarchs won their 30th league championship in the past 31 seasons.

Many league championships were decided in more frantic fashion. Several were decided on the final day of the regular season, and some were history-making events.

San Clemente won the Sea View League championship, the program's first league title since 1975.

Santiago captured the Garden Grove League championship, that program's first since '76.

The South Coast League proved to be as good and as competitive as expected, with Mission Viejo and El Toro sharing the title. The Century League was typically tight.

Several teams went undefeated in league play, Tustin (Empire), Laguna Beach (Orange Coast), Northwood (Pacific Coast) and Brethren Christian (Academy) among them.

Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei established himself as the leading candidate for Orange County player of the year, but there are several others who made strong cases for inclusion on the All-County team.

That takes care of the regular season.

Here comes the postseason, the most important season of them all.

CIF-Southern Section playoff brackets for its 12 boys basketball divisions will be released Sunday. (All of the brackets will be available at OCVarsity.com after their release.)

The playoffs begin Wednesday with first-round games or with wild-card games. Ensuing playoff dates are Feb. 15, 19, 22 and 26. Championship finals are Feb. 27-March 2 at Anaheim Convention Center and Mater Dei High.

Teams are guaranteed entry into the playoffs if they are among the top two finishers in four-team leagues, the top three finishers in five- and six-team leagues, the top four finishers in seven- and eight-team leagues or the top five finishers in nine-team leagues.

At-large teams are added if there are not enough guaranteed entries to fill a division's 32-team bracket. There is no minimum number of victories required for at-large qualification.

Divisions are first organized by enrollment. Then a playoff-profile points system is used to move the more successful teams into higher brackets. Orange Lutheran was 1A champion last year, but has been elevated to 1AA because of such success.

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10 players who helped their teams the most during the regular season:

Josh Armstrong, Fountain Valley

JoJo Ballestero, Canyon

Cody Bean, San Clemente

Cory Blau, Dana Hills

Justin Davis, Foothill

Jalen Hall, Cypress

Mamadou Ndiaye, Brethren Christian

Josh Rodriguez, Sonora

Jordan Strawberry, Mater Dei

Alex Robertson, Santiago

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10 teams that were better than we expected during the regular season:

Aliso Niguel

Edison

Loara

Los Alamitos

Northwood

San Clemente

Santiago

Servite

Sunny Hills

Villa Park

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10 players who could be postseason MVPs for their teams in the postseason:

Jamal Aytes, JSerra

Payton Banks, Orange Lutheran

Jimmy Golden, Sonora

Nick Hornsby, Tustin

Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei

Scott Lynds, Aliso Niguel

Luke Selway, Villa Park

Max Thurman, Sunny Hills

Cody White, El Toro

Evan Zeller, Mission Viejo

**********************

10 teams poised to make deep runs in the playoffs:

Brethren Christian

El Toro

Northwood

Ocean View

Mater Dei

Mission Viejo

Saddleback Valley Christian

Sonora

Tustin

Villa Park


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